Sunday, July 15, 2007

Dr. Harold O.J. Brown, 1933-2007

Harold O.J. Brown, John R. Richardson Professor of Theology and Philosophy at Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte, North Carolina was born July 6, 1933 in Tampa, Florida to Dr. Harold Ogden and Mary Bakas Brown.

Brown earned four degrees from Harvard University and Harvard Divinity School. He received the Bachelor of Arts in Germanic languages and biochemical sciences, the Bachelor of Divinity in theology, the Master of Theology in church history and the Doctor of Philosophy in Reformed studies. He also studied at the University of Marburg, Germany, and the University of Vienna, Austria, and taught courses in Basel, Switzerland, and Yeotmal, India.

In 1975, Brown founded the Christian Action Council with former United States Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, M.D. The Christian Action Council was the leading evangelical pro-life action group and an educational and service ministry, which he served as charmain until 1998. The Christian Action Council is currently known as Care Net, Inc. He was the director of the Center on Religion and Society at the Rockford Institute and taught in the International Seminar on Jurisprudence and Human Rights in Strasbourg, France.

Brown's areas of expertise included systematic theology; right-to-life issues; ethics, especially ethical and family values; journalism, public affairs; and political philosophy. He is a member of the American Theological Society, and the Turnerschaft Saxonia Marburg.

Brown received several awards, including many for his pro-life work. He received Fulbright and Danforth awards and was voted Faculty Member of the Year at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School where he held the Franklin Forman Chair of Christian Ethics and Theology and was professor of biblical and systematic theology. He taught at Trinity as a visiting professor in 1971 and 1975 and served as associate professor of systematic theology from 1976 to 1983. After four years as a pastor in Switzerland, Brown returned to the Trinity faculty in 1987. He joined the faculty of Reformed Theological Seminary on its Charlotte, North Carolina campus in the summer of 1998 and remained a vital part of the community until his passing.

Brown served on the editorial staff of Human Life Review and Christianity Today and served as contributing editor for Christianity Today and Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. He was editor of The Religion and Society Report and wrote numerous articles over the last 40 years in such magazines as National Review, Eternity, Hemelios, Human Life Review, and publications in Germany, Austria, and London. His books include The Protest of a Troubled Protestant (Zondervan, 1969), Christianity and the Class Struggle (Arlington House, 1970), Death before Birth (Thomas Nelson, 1977), The Reconstruction of the Republic (Arlington House, 1977), and Heresies: The Image of Christ in the Mirror of Heresy and Orthodoxy from the Apostles to the Present. His most recent books are Sensate Culture (Word, 1996) and Heresies: Heresy and Orthodoxy in the History of the Church (Henderson, 1998).

Brown and his wife, Grace, had two children, Cynthia Brown Erb and Peter E.H. Brown. In his spare time, Brown enjoyed crew, skiing and mountaineering.

Harold or 'Joe' as many of us called him was a rich blessing to RTS, not only in his solid scholarship and classroom excellence but also in his personal relationships and care for students, staff, and other faculty. He had a European "dry wit" and a great sense of understated humor. Even though slowed by poor health in his later years, he was always challenging in his teaching and tender in his thoughtfulness to others. We will miss him but we rejoice in the heritage he left to us and in his presence with our Savior.

--Dr. Robert (Ric) C. Cannada, Jr., Chancellor of Reformed Theological Seminary

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